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Member Since 11 Apr 2005
Offline Last Active Dec 18 2018 06:12 PM

Topics I've Started

Fire Emblem Warriors

28 September 2017 - 08:50 AM

Out in Japan now - no other languages. A hefty 13gb download, too.

This is basically the follow up to Hyrule Warriors and so its another crossover game. You choose one of two original character twins (prince or princess), have your castle taken over by enemies from another dimension and start running into Fire Emblem characters while beating up loads of soldiers with your sword, axe or spear.

As youd expect, theyve included a lot of Fire Emblem elements in the game, including a form of permadeath! The weapon triangle is very much present, spells and items are usable, you can pair up units with a quick button press to help increase their bond levels more quickly - they even made the music more subdued when youre not fighting.

Map control is in to an extent; there are both guard posts and fortresses that you can take over. You control up to four characters in a battle and as you would expect theyve included the orders system that started in Samurai Warriors. Sending guys over to beat up on enemies theyre strong against is a relatively quick process. The crush attack from Zelda is in too, so stunning enemies results in a flashy extra attack.

Theres plenty to this one; theyve done a lot to make it like the original games, everything is voice acted and weve already had a couple of instances of Awakening characters running into their own children. Graphically its fine, nothing super amazing but Id like to mention the high frame rate mode - when docked it lets you basically make it render the same way as the portable mode and as a result the framerate gets very close to 60. Its not constant or anything but its better than any of the PS4 Warriors games with the exception of Shin Gundam Musou.

Overall, a return to form for the Warriors name. With Spirit of Sanada and Stars being absolutely terrible, and DW9 looking like its going to be pretty bad too, I had reservations about this one but its as good a game of its type as Ive played in years. Probably the best since Hyrule Warriors, actually, and I definitely have no real attachment to Zelda or FE!

Sen no Kiseki 3

28 September 2017 - 08:19 AM

Its ts finally here!!!

I wont go deep into the story stuff because to be honest its so long since I finished Sen 2 Ive forgotten what happened in the ending. Anyway, its a year or so since the end of that and theres a new Thors Military Academy, Rean being selected as instructor for the new Class VII alongside some old faces, more of which I probably should have recognised. Im pretty sure theres a recap on the title screen so I should have checked that!

Anyway, they do a Sen 1 and start things with a flash forward, allowing you to get to grips with the additions to the battle system. There are a few; the first and most obvious change is that battles now start instantly with no loading. Very impressive! The battle camera is much more dynamic, swooping around all over the place and moves have more effects going on. Reans S-Craft is particularly cool, partly because it just goes without any pauses.

In terms of new systems, there are the Break and Order systems. Break is a bar under enemies health which drains, and when it reaches 0 the enemy is stunned and made completely vulnerable (4 stars) to all weapon types for a full turn. It seems borderline unfair and is very satisfying on bosses! Orders are new buffs which are initiated using the same BP you get from enemy weakness attacks and can have some pretty nice effects. They usually have a small heal included so firing off one before a big attack seems to be a way to turn things around.

The battle interface has been modernised too - instead of scrolling around a menu, everything is bound to a button or direction. Circle is attack, square Arts, triangle Crafts, and so on, putting S-Craft onto R1. Out of battle theres the usual attack to stun enemies but now theres a special field attack on R2 which starts a fight with enemies Break bars 50% drained. Breaking field items refills it.

Ive just reached the first point where I can wander around the new academy; the new areas have definitely been upgraded for the PS4 but it still keeps up a nice smooth 60fps pretty much all the time, and the dynamic resolution system seems to be in effect keeping resolutions high (visually close to 4K at times).

Im impressed so far; Falcom seem to have taken a lot of the little irritations and delays out of the game. Thats probably for the best given how much story they have to get through this time around!

The Lost Child

14 September 2017 - 09:22 AM

It's been a while since I just bought a random dungeon RPG. Tokyo Clanpool demo on the 24th apparently - hopefully an improvement from the apparently deficient Mary Skelter. Anyway! This is the new game from Sawaki Takeyasu, the ex-Capcom designer behind El Shaddai. It's based in the current day but still has the angels and demons theme. This time around you play as Hayato Ibuki, a writer for an occult magazine, and quickly enough you get pushed in front of a train (and saved), receive the mysterious Gungaur weapon, become a "chosen one" and end up with an angel, Rua, following you around. Your editor, Sarutani, doesn't seem too impressed but you continue with work, investigating rumours about strange happenings.

Once the talking is done, you end up in a "layer" - a dungeon. If the engine isn't the same as what Experience use in games like Demon Gaze it's been designed to be very similar. Walking around is similar, only lacking the right stick controls and ability to post notes, but the mapping is strengthened with the ability to easily flick between the notes you see when you interact with obstacles. The framerate is dreadful on Vita; I was surprised after seeing Experience challenging for 60fps at times in their games to have this limp along with lengthy loading and 15fps update. Maybe they were trying to make it feel more like Soul Hackers? It's already got the pair of main characters leading a team of summoned creatures (summoned with a gun, no less - though in this case the computer function is separated out to a tablet operated by Rua, unlike the GUMP). There is a PS4 version which I'm sure would run a lot better.

Anyway, battles start and unlike Megaten, you capture enemies by killing them with an Astral Burst; an attack which combines attacks from Hayato and your three summons on an enemy and if it kills the enemy then you get them. There's a bar at the top of the screen which charges with normal attacks and defeated enemies and the closer to 100% it gets the stronger the burst you unleash, but if you let it overflow it empties and you can't use the burst next turn.

Captured enemies are released and levelled up using one of three kinds of Karma, gained from defeating the relevant type of enemy and by your dialogue choices in the story. Only Hayato and Rua gain experience on victory so you have the choice of how to raise your team.

Overall I'm enjoying it so far. It's a little slow paced (especially if you don't immediately turn the movement speed up to max) but a lot of the usual pain points you get in DRPGs are eased up and there is a real style to it. Lucifel, making a reappearance from El Shaddai, even reads out the piracy warning on loading, and there are a couple of references to the infamous trailer but not too many.

Everybody's Golf (2017)

04 September 2017 - 09:12 PM

The grind is real.


It's a new Everybody's Golf game! If you've played one before you know 90% of what you're getting - an arcadey golf game with simple timing-based controls but creative course design that rewards precision and consistency with incredibly unrealistic scores (ones I never stuck out to achieve, unfortunately). This is another one, except they removed all the charming characters for some mediocre Xbox Avatar style self-designed characters!


This game's had a troubled development and it shows. The loading takes ages, the characters aren't great to look at (though much better than the efforts on first reveal), the menu and world feel disjointed - the whole thing feels like someone had a bright idea to make an open world golf game and they tried their best to patch up something that worked.


There are good ideas; I like the way you can wander around a course and see people online playing. It's very satisfying to see someone scuff a putt and then drain one yourself. The gallery moving around with you and cheering in single player is cute and fun and it feels way less barren than the previous entry.


My main issue with the game is the unlocks. It just takes so damn long to move forward and unlock duels or new stuff. You're expected to run around the course to scrape together coins to get new stuff. The game is painfully aware they could only finish five courses plus two DLC ones at launch.


Luckily the golf is still good. The power bar still moves at 60fps, the initial course (for that's all I have been able to play - after a couple of hours I unlocked the second half of it) is very good and once you're in a game it's reasonably speedy. But what a mess around it.


One last special mention for the PS4 Pro 60fps mode. It's 60fps but only technically. Basically, the camera moves at 60fps but everything that animates, 2D or 3D, does so at 30 even when it's right up in the front of the screen. It's so offputting I ended up putting it back into 4K mode which makes the PS4 run like a jet engine for some reason.


I'm really mixed on this. The bit where I'm playing golf is fun but everything around it irritates. The minute-long loading times for 9 holes. The lengthy XP bar animations whenever you hit a shot (and when you level up a club you have to press a button to move on). Not being able to skip shots online (though I can understand why that happens at least). Just loads of little pauses when all I want to do is line up and take my next shot. Irritating.


Oh yeah, and putting is now three clicks because they seemingly wanted to slow that down too - impact makes so little difference to your stroke on the green.


edit: Reading that back, it sounds more negative than I originally intended. To be clear, I've no problem with the part where you take a shot and the first course's design is great. They put in enough wind to make you realise how much it changes things, it makes you think about going a club or two shorter to avoid trees or the boundary - you're not just shooting down the middle to make birdies right away. The shot timing is still as good as it gets, the spin system remains my favourite in computer golf and most importantly, the feeling you get when you chip in from 30 yards or read a long putt perfectly to get that birdie or save a par on a long par 4 (with your starter clubs, some of those longer 4s feel tough) is not really matched in the genre. It's just everything around it. I paid £18 thanks to that PSN code Amazon pricing error and I definitely think it's worth that. Without a group to play with though, I think it flounders and the issues just float up.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

04 September 2017 - 09:01 PM

I love being surprised by games.


Remember when this was partially leaked, and looked terrible because we all assumed it would be a shooter or something? And then E3 happened and it's actually a tactics battle game? Turns out that with the full version it's basically a Nintendo game, if Nintendo were French.


Story's not too important: basically the Rabbids ruin everything and now there are bad ones and a big swirly vortex. Mario's off to save everyone, but this time with both friends and Rabbid versions in tow. I've seen the Rabbids described as agents of pure chaos, which fits their actions here. Their interactions with the main characters are good; it definitely doesn't take itself too seriously. I won't spoil anything but the cutscenes are often funny in that slapstick fashion.


The game's battles take place on square grids with lots of height differences and wide open spaces as well as cover; combat calculations are reduced to either 0, 50 or 100% which combined with the fact that most cover can be blown up makes for a less random feeling game. You still get criticals on weapons, which result in amusing status effects like being covered in honey or being catapulted away, out of cover and potentially off the map. Movement is massive, with characters slide tackling enemies, bouncing off each other and going through pipes. Mario even gets a damage and mobility boost for jumping on enemies' heads! Everyone has two abilities, like Luigi's glare that is basically Overwatch mode or Rabbid Luigi's ability to weaken enemies.


Basically it's a simplified Xcom with flashy movement and small teams which plays quickly and has a silly sense of humour. Props to the soundtrack too - I thought it sounded like a Rare game and confirmed that it was composed by one Grant Kirkhope.


I've no idea how this game happened but I'm really glad it did!